The relationship between perineal cosmetic talc usage and ovarian talc particle burden

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 May;174(5):1507-10. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(96)70597-5.


Objective: Epidemiologic studies support the hypothesis of a dose-related risk of epithelial ovarian cancer with perineal talc usage exposure. Frequency and duration of talc has not been previously correlated with ovarian talc content.

Study design: Ovaries were studied from 24 women undergoing incidental oophorectomy who were interviewed regarding talc usage. Twelve subjects reported frequent perineal talc applications; the twelve controls reported no use. Ovarian tissue blocks were digested and analyzed by polarized light microscopy and analytic electron microscopy to identify and quantify talc.

Results: Talc was identified in all 24 cases by either light or electron microscopy. Talc particle counts were completely unrelated to reported levels of perineal talc exposure.

Conclusions: The detection of talc in all ovaries demonstrates that it can reach the upper genital tract. Widespread exposure to talc during diapering may contribute to the ubiquitous presence of talc in ovarian tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Burden
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Cosmetics / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovary / chemistry*
  • Ovary / ultrastructure
  • Perineum*
  • Talc / adverse effects
  • Talc / analysis*


  • Cosmetics
  • Talc